What is a high risk pregnancy? There are many conditions that can complicate a pregnancy, classifying it as high risk. A high risk pregnancy can include problems with the mother or problems with the baby.
A mother could develop problems during her pregnancy that she has never had before, such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia or diabetes. A mother could also have medical problems before the pregnancy (chronic conditions) such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lupus, asthma or a history of blood clots. These conditions can increase the risk of problems during a pregnancy. Baby problems could include defects such as heart or spinal cord defects, problems with growth, or multiples (twins, triplets, quads, etc.). Many high risk issues cannot be prevented or avoided; however, there are steps a mom can take to reduce her risks.
You should work towards having your body in a healthy state before getting pregnant. For those women with chronic medical problems such as asthma, blood pressure problems, or diabetes, work with your doctor to get these conditions under control before the pregnancy. We advise seeing a high risk doctor, known as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, prior to the pregnancy. MFM Specialists can help you identify significant risks that could affect your pregnancy and offer strategies to reduce those risks.
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant we recommend the following:
- Take a folic acid supplement daily. Folic acid can be purchased over the counter.
- Adopt a healthy diet. Limit junk food and eat more fresh foods and whole grains.
- Quit smoking.
- Work towards or maintain a healthy weight.
- Adopt a regular exercise program.
- See your doctor regularly to manage any health problems.
- Consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist when you are thinking about getting pregnant if you have chronic health problems.